The finals are well underway and a couple of weeks ago we looked at how each of the eight finals teams compared to political parties. But for those teams that didn’t make the final race to Footy’s Prime Ministership (read: premiership), here is a look at how their political campaigns (a.k.a. seasons) went.
Adelaide Crows: Much like Brexit negotiations, the Crows have fallen apart. From nearly winning the flag two years ago, the Crows are now in their second year without featuring on the ballot sheet in September. Anyone’s guess who’ll be their party leader heading into next season, but, like Boris taking over from Theresa, it promises to be bloody and interesting (but potentially very depressing if you’re a supporter).
Carlton Blues: Like the Canadian Liberal party’s chances of winning their up and coming Federal Election in October, the Blues started this campaign off quite slowly, allowing their rivals to get a vital lead. They even had to get rid of party leader, Brendan Bolton, after the last two years of disappointing results across the board. But the Blues have shown that a new leader can bring a renewed sense of hope, which must be what Australian Labor voters are feeling after shaking off that embarrassing defeat back in May.
Fremantle Dockers: What to say about the Dockers? What you see is what you get. Unlike most politicians, you know what you’ll consistently get with Fremantle. Except, for the first time in eight years, they’ll have a head coach who is not Ross Lyon. All of a sudden, they could be anything next year - premiers or wooden spooners. Anything is possible for Freo. Much like politics these days, the last group resembling stability in the footy realm has thrown said stability out the window.
Gold Coast Suns: Like hopes for the Greens, no one expected the Suns to do well during this campaign. Early signs were promising when they won three out of their first four... before losing their next 18 straight. Initial expectations proved correct… the Suns didn’t end up doing so well. At least there’s always next year…?
Hawthorn Hawks: The Hawks are like the established political elite that, up until 2016, had dominated the competition. And... they have been okay since. But, with the Hawks missing their best player - last year’s Brownlow Medal Winner Tom Mitchell - all year with injury, a return to political dominance may be on the horizon for the Hawks.
Melbourne Demons: This team was one of two teams that emulated Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party political campaign: in your face as the team to beat, the underdogs every Australian and footy fan can get behind. Who didn’t tip them as making finals this year? Yet when push came to shove, the Demons got shoved out of the party onto the pavement. Much like Clive’s political career.
North Melbourne Kangaroos: This was the other team to reflect Mr Palmer’s political efforts and results this year. The message throughout the preseason was that they were underdogs, but strong underdogs off the back of good momentum from last year. But it all failed. Unlike Melbourne however, North have lost their head coach in the process. Maybe they’ll learn their lesson heading into the next campaign and not be too cocky.
Port Adelaide Power: This team has had as many momentum swings this year as Australia has had Prime Ministers this century. One week, they’ll look like world beaters as they breeze to an easier-than-expected win against quality sides such as Geelong or West Coast. The next, they’ll fall flat on their face and lose to lesser teams like North Melbourne or an injury-ridden Richmond. Coach Ken Hinkley is in the firing line after saying throughout the season that he may not be in the job next year if the Power missed finals. He may go the way of Bill Shorten earlier this year or David Cameron after his political debacle in 2016.
St Kilda Saints: The Saints are the independent candidate who can never quite get a serious swing at becoming PM, but tries their hardest and campaigns for years nevertheless. So much so that people who support other candidates and established parties wouldn’t mind losing to them. The day when the Saints once again sit atop the AFL ladder may still be a while coming. Though, stranger things have happened.
Sydney Swans: The end of an era. The Sydney Swans dominated for so long, so a fall was inevitable. A rebound into the eight, seemingly expected by fans and experts alike after an impressive season (considering injuries, retirements and new youth) shouldn’t just be expected to happen. Labor were expecting a strong rebound after 2013. They got it in 2016... and embarrassingly lost it three years later. Just saying, Swans. Hubris is infamous for being a pitfall.
This lot may have fallen short of the September Madness. But if footy and politics have proven anything, it is that quick rebounds and surprises are not only possible but increasingly expected.